Holiday Fashion: Joyful jewel tones

December 23, 2013

Emerald green dress, Ralph Lauren, $134, at Macy's; leopard print coat, Bettie Page, $170, at Bettie Page; black tote, Lauren Merkin, $425, at Peter Kate; vintage, horsehair-brimmed fascinator, $180, at Vows Timeless Bridal Millinery; Voy necklace, $410, Vesuve ring, $310, Oceanic earrings, $95, all Swarovski at Swarovski.

PHILADELPHIA ó This holiday seasonís attire is flush with plush navies, inky blacks, and foresty greens, making for a very merry monochromatic time.

Reds are pure. Whites are wintry.

And shimmer? Well, thatís everywhere.

"We have a ton of glitzy, luxe fabrics," said Melibea Sarant, manager of Bettie Page Clothing, a Philadelphia boutique that sells modern-day versions of pinup-style frocks. "There is a lot of velvet in deep blues and pretty greens and everything has shimmer, even if itís just a hint."

The multitude of saturated and sparkling ensembles is a sumptuous end to a year that began with a burst of bold primaries and flowed into a lacey spring. Fall was full of fabric blocking ó as in heather-gray wool sweaters trimmed in autumnal shaded leathers with a little herringbone check for good measure.

Busy. Busy. Busy.

Luckily, as we transition into yuletide, these monochromatic dresses and trousers create a lean silhouette. Can you think of a better gift from the fashion gods during this decadent time of year?

"Youíre not cutting your body in a funny place, so wearing just one color makes you look taller and slimmer," said Ann Gitter, owner of Chestnut Streetís Knit Wit. "But you need some shimmer, even if itís just a handbag. Without it, you will look pretty boring."

But donít stop at twinkle.

That solid green sheath you plan to wear to the company cocktail party will absolutely pop with a belted animal print coat or cloak.

And your strapless plaid mini paired with all things black leather is a perfect way to add rocker-chic zing. (Must have the fingerless gloves.)

The deep hues not only create the illusion of a not-so-bumpy bod ó single shades plus luscious textures also give this holidayís throwback silhouettes a current look.

For example, the curve-hugging mermaid-style gown we associate with a 1950s Marilyn Monroe gets a 2013 Pinterest-worthy twist in shades of blue velvet, courtesy of Bettie Page. Think life-size Christmas tree ornament.

"We call this the wiggle dress," Sarant said. The millennial version of this gown, she said, has lots of spandex and is available in sizes XS to 4XL.

"You can get this dress short or long," Sarant said. "Itís always in style."

Another old-school look popular this holiday is the fit-and-flare. This dress came very casual and skater-chic in fall. As we ease into the colder months, this styleís hem lengthens. For a more exaggerated look, add a crinoline.

"That extra garment makes the waist look really tiny, so that when the skirts flare out, there is a perfect hourglass," Sarant said.

Iím adding crinoline to my Christmas list.

If pants are more your sartorial speed, Gitter suggests going 1960s beatnik-style skinny. (Note: Gitter said stylistas also are liking the slightly belled boot cut. You can never have enough í70s influences.)

Trousers topped with a white shirt and jeweled vest are cocktail-party ready. Add a sweater in a deep jewel tone ó try emerald green ó and you have a cozy dinner-with-the-in-laws outfit.

"Itís as much about how you put it together as it is about the sparkle," said Gitter. If the vest is too flashy for your familyís taste, Gitter said, bring in shine with a belt, handbag, or ballet flats.

Only if your gym routine ó or your genes ó are flawless do we suggest you go festive in a 1990s mid-thigh mini. By the way, black will be the new black this New Yearís Eve.

"If this tiny pencil shape fits you, then itís a home run," Gitter said.

I plan to approach my holiday fashion the same way I will my shopping: subtly lean but thoughtfully lush.



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